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From an interview in 2007:

When did you start walking?

My wife, Marjorie, and I did short bush walks together for some years before her health failed. I started walking the suburbs in January 2003

What gave you the idea to walk suburbs?

When my wife of 60 years died in November 2002, I knew that I had to somehow keep going. I started walking some streets in my home suburb, but soon found this a little boring and switched to neighbouring suburbs. It just grew from there.

How often do you walk and for how long?

I walk every day unless it is too hot or too wet. Perhaps I miss about 30 days a year. My average walking time would be 85 minutes, including a one-minute stop every seven minutes to let my leg aneurysm catch up. For May 2005, my pedometer showed an average walk of 4.1km per day, but now my average is just under 3km a day.

Do you feel safe walking around Sydney streets?

I’ve never felt threatened. This doesn’t mean that a threat or assault won’t happen some day, but 5,000km of incident-free walking suggests that Sydney compares well as a safe city.

Do you have a back-up crew?

One of my sons drives me to the suburb I’m doing and if there is a steep hill, he drives me to the top and I walk back down. Another son created and maintains the web site.

How do you keep track of what you’ve done?

My son types the name of every street, lane, park path, etc on the computer and plots a course. As each street is finished, it is deleted from the list of what is still to be done and it is highlighted on the street directory map.

You don't seem to walk in alphabetical or area order. What determines where you walk?

I like to have quite a few suburbs in progress at any one time for variety. In the hot months I do coastal suburbs to get the sea breeze. On fine days or at times of the year when I don't have much else happening I do distant suburbs. If there are things that must be done that day or I have an appointment that I must get back for, I do closer suburbs. The nearest ones to home I do on rainy days so that if I get wet it's not long before I can get home to change into dry clothes. On weekends I usually do industrial areas and highways or other busy roads.

Do you get sick of walking?

No, but even if I did, my doctor tells me I must keep walking if I want to stay healthy. On my last visit to the heart specialist I was told that because of my walking, there is now every chance I should live to 100. And so many people have emailed me to say they have been inspired to get out and walk too. This has been very encouraging for me. One thing about walking is that you see so many unusual things that you miss even if you drive past them numerous times.

What do you do when you’re not walking?

Until 2007 I still had some clients from my days as a full-time accountant, but at 93 I am not seeking any more! I do cryptic crosswords (my favourite clue was: how the widowed cannibal felt about his nagging wife, the Roman soldier*) and play Mah Jongg.

What have been your favourite places?

I like water views, so ocean- and river-side suburbs are high on my list. But I also like keeping an eye open for the unusual, as you would see from the Secrets and Surprises pages. My favourite suburbs for walking have included Watsons Bay (especially the lighthouse track), Dover Heights, Dangar Island, Waverton, Tamarama and McMahons Point.

*A Roman soldier was a gladiator (glad he ate her).


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